Handover of the Army LGBT+ Forum Chair

Handover of the Army LGBT+ Forum Chair

A message from Maj Rob Ridley, our outgoing Forum Chair…

Rob Ridley & Jamie CarrAfter six years on the Army Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum Committee, initially as Media Rep to Major Damian Jenkins RAMC, Vice Chair to WO1 Karen Styles AGC(SPS), and two years as Chair; it is time to hand over leadership in order to maintain the Forum’s momentum and exploit fresh ideas and direction.  I look forward to seeing the Forum continue to evolve and innovate in delivery of the, still essential, advice and support it provides to Army Headquarters, unit commanders and individual personnel under the leadership of Captain Jamie Carrahar AGC(ETS), the core Forum Committee and growing network of Regional Leads and sub-groups.

All those involved with the Forum; ChampionsArmy Headquarters Diversity StaffCommittee members, wider community of personnel identifying as LGBT+ and our Allies, can be rightly proud of what has been collectively achieved since the small, discreet, enthusiastic origins of the Forum, to the professional team of today.  Whether it is the lived-experience aware guidance to Army Headquarters on policy development; advice to the chain of command on inclusive leadership education, welfare or discipline; practical support for regional Brigade engagement with their local LGBT+ communities; facilitating volunteers to feature in Army recruiting campaigns; advice and training support to the Army Cadet Force adult volunteers; Prides; supporting articles from Soldier Magazine to the Forces Pension Society feature on Armed Forces pensions application to same-sex couples, or the move from small meetings at Oxford colleges, to the well-attended annual conferences at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, there is much to be proud of.

The most important work of the Forum, remains the advice, guidance and support the network provides to those personnel serving or contemplating ‘coming out’ as openly LGBT+ in their teams.

The most important work of the Forum, remains the advice, guidance and support the network provides to those personnel serving or contemplating ‘coming out’ as openly LGBT+ in their teams.  In an organisation such as ours, where we are so utterly dependant on each other and where our working and social lives are so heavily intertwined, the ability to serve authentically and to be respected for your ability as a soldier, regardless of who you love, isessential for strong teams, and ultimately operational effectiveness.

The Forum has benefited from two exceptional Champions during my time; both Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders CBE DSO and General Sir James Everard KCB CBE have provided considerable, and genuine, support that whilst potentially unnoticed by many has certainly improved the lived experience of personnel across the spectrum of diversity.

Whilst I shall continue to support the team, from the side-lines, I wish thank all who’ve made the current Army Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum what it is and wish the Chair, Committee and wider network of LGBT+ personnel and allies every success in continuing to mainstream inclusion for the benefit of individual personnel, their teams and the Army.

Major Rob Ridley CEng MICE RE.

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